After losing its first game of the season against St Lawrence University, the Plattsburgh State men’s soccer team came across another bump in the road this week by tying conference rival Potsdam.
Throughout the season, it has been stressed that the SUNYAC Conference is among the most elite in New York. A perfect example of how competitive this conference actually is can be found directly in the standings.
Despite PSUC’s 8-1-1 overall record, they are still seventh in the conference. Cortland is also feeling the heat of the league as they sit at the bottom of the standings after losing two conference games over the weekend. This is a team that was one of the favorites to win the conference during the preseason.
“It’s a bit shocking,” PSUC head coach Chris Waterbury said. “They’re going to be desperate for a win.”
Cortland is not the only team that is desperate — the whole conference has a sense of urgency, and Plattsburgh is no different. Their practices have increased in intensity, and there has been a consistent level of hard work put forth throughout the entire team.
Waterbury believes that if one was to sit in on a practice, they would not be able to tell who is a freshmen and who is a senior based off of the effort they put forth. Junior forward Terrence Spence has also noticed a spike of effort in practices recently.
“All the boys came together and agreed that we need to pick up the intensity,” Spence said. “It’s coming up on two weeks since we’ve picked up a win, so we’re definitely hungry.”
Looking forward, the Cards are embarking on eight consecutive conference games, each match offering its own challenges.
Assistant coach Geoff Spear expressed his concern for the upcoming weekends of conference play.
He is aware that having a high place in the SUNYAC standings is the easiest way into the NCAA tournament. The only thing problem is that Plattsburgh has a solid nine other teams to compete with. All the squads are currently in a tangle with each other, and those that can win will set themselves apart.
“We weren’t happy with the tie against Potsdam because we knew we needed a win,” Spear said. “Friday presents another day, and we’re going to get after it.”
Even though the team as a whole is working together to get better, the players are also taking it upon themselves to personally get better.
Spence is focusing on being able to give his teammates better balls to create better scoring opportunities. This will prove to be essential for the success of the Cards because every missed opportunity could be the difference between making the playoffs and having their season cut short.
Although he knows their practices cannot be perfect, Waterbury is confident the Cards will keep striving for their absolute best.
For now, PSUC will take it one game at a time, starting with this weekend’s match against SUNY Cortland. Waterbury describes this weekend as a “pivotal” one.
“This is where you can separate yourself or get muddled,” Waterbury said. “Zero-2 is catastrophic, and 2-0 is euphoria.”
Email Kevin Morley at firstname.lastname@example.org